This week’s That Guy, Nimish Shukla exudes Tribe pride that transcends his presence on campus as an enthusiastic bhangra dancer, master chef and avid follower of “The Hills.” After graduation next month, he plans to “rep the Class of ’08 until the day I die.”
What was your upbringing like?
I am from Loudon County, Va., the western part of Northern Virginia. My parents are both immigrants from India, so I’ve grown up in a very conservative and traditional Indian household.
My family is incredibly close, and they are the biggest influence in my life. I think the single most important lesson I’ve learned from my parents has been to never live life with any regret.My older sister, who is a genius, is in law school and will be joining an IP law firm soon. She has always been my role model and the first to tell me when I do something regrettably stupid. I can’t imagine the type of person I would be without my family’s influence.
What is your favorite family tradition?
I guess it would be our family trips to India every two years. I love getting to spend time in the small village where my dad grew up and having time to see all of our family.
Have you had other experiences abroad?
I was fortunate enough to go on a service trip with Habitat for Humanity to Guatemala this year. It was my first IST, and I’m so glad that I applied. Besides meeting 15 amazing people that I probably wouldn’t have had a chance to meet on campus, it was just a fascinating experience. I was a bit hesitant at first because I knew very little Spanish, but all the people we met in Guatemala were incredibly nice and understanding.
What were some of your favorite experiences there?
We got to climb an active volcano while we were in Guatemala, which was an experience I don’t think you could have anywhere else in the world. We also had the opportunity to build two houses for a family, which was physically exhausting, but so rewarding. Being able to interact with the family and see how excited they were for their new home was, by far, the highlight of my trip. Hopefully I can go back to Guatemala sometime soon.
Who was your first crush?
My first crush was this guy named Jon Welle. I think he was That Guy once. When I met him I was just smitten with his eyebrow ring and strong facial features. [laughs]
Describe your ideal date.
My ideal date would be to have a picnic on a nice day. I think it would also have to include a walk through Colonial Williamsburg with some ice cream. We could have a nice bottle of wine and maybe some Cheese Shop sandwiches. Also, my ideal date would end with my date and I shotgunning.
What is one thing about you that might surprise others?
Not a lot of people know that I am a master Indian chef. One summer, when I was 13, my mom went back to India, and my dad decided that it would be a good idea to finally teach me how to cook. Every night my dad would make me help him cook our dinner. Although my food still isn’t as good as my mom’s, I think I’ve gotten pretty good. The ladies love it.
Has it ever gotten you anywhere?
Once I cooked a romantic dinner for Dan Maguire, and he said that when he ate my food he heard “Kiss from A Rose” playing in his head.
What activities would you say best define you and why?
I think the activities that best define me have been my involvements with the multicultural community. As a student here at the College, I’ve always been really excited about expanding the opportunities for students from different backgrounds to share their experiences. I started out involved with SASA and after really tried to work on the larger diverse community. The diversity on our campus is such a strong asset, and working with the multicultural community has defined my time at the College.